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7th February 2003 - Page 2


Exactly what went wrong; I could not fathom- there had been arguments before, noisy and violent as they come, but none as deadly as this. For this one had ended in silence- a silence that hung in the air, like the pall of darkness over the sea on a moonless night. For some moments, I stood rooted to the spot as though incapable of movement. With every passing second, the air in the room got heavier. 
I couldn't take it anymore. 
I departed. I cut him off. Or did he?
I cut him off.
Or did he?
I didn't really care.

Days and weeks and years rolled on… the bruises healed and at last 'memory' took over relegating those memories to the farthest recesses of my mind.

It has been aptly remarked that the future is the most alluring destination of the human mind. For my 'future' came like a series of waves each more powerful than the last, sweeping me off my feet. Several I rode with dignity and collapsed at the feet of many - like a surfer, I carried on. Or was it the waves that did it, I'm not sure.

And here I was, in Minnesota doing what one normally does at this hour, catching news and some breakfast too. In two and a half minutes precisely, it would be time to leave. Drop Sheel to school - 

The shrill call of the phone in the hall interrupted my thoughts. It was mother. She had called to say, Surjit met with an accident the previous night. She was leaving for the hospital. There were severe head injuries. Would I please, call him? - But could he respond…her voice choked. Mother had always been like that - trying, forever; imploring with me, entreating with him. But neither had relented. Two of a kind, for sure I put the handset down. Something dislodged in the farthest recesses of my mind. I felt queer, as one subjected to a jet lag of not just hours but days. Memories broke free of the cobwebs and hurtled towards me at an ethereal pace
Time was up.
The cobwebs had won.

Akanksha Srivastav

The Shade of Swords
- M.J. Akbar

For the first time the column now carries a review of a non-fiction book. Although non-fiction may find few readers, in my opinion it is a more serious kind of reading meant for those who wish to carry away something from the book they read. The reason I chose this book for reviewing is because today there is a lot of conflict in the world especially post 9/11, which centers around Islam and the jihad done by its followers. Many of us have many misconceptions about Islam, jihad and many key terms in this issue of fundamentalism, orthodoxy etc. Since this issue shall dominate our future world it is necessary to truly understand the history of Islam, its evolution and the reason for the current crisis. M.J. Akbar, who throws light on this issue in a fair manner, does this very admirably. I, who formerly thought I had correct knowledge on jihad and jihadis, Islam and the present crisis, was forced to submit to the fact that I had many misconceptions and thus changed my views on the force of Akbar's strong and well-researched arguments. Therefore I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to look at this looming crisis of the world in a rational, unbiased manner.

Ashutosh Kumar X-B


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